Monday, November 27, 2006

Pacific Ackworth Friends School       [recollections]

Googling can be general, cultural, personal. Somehow I finally got around to googling Pacific Ackworth Friends School (Temple City, California) -- the small, well-loved educational institution that (I can say without irony) nurtured me from the age of 5 through 14. There's surprisingly little info about the school online. It's not yet included (for instance) in the Wikipedia roster of Friends Schools.

This overview history of Quaker educational activities includes a brief sketch of PA's origins (under section "Quaker Educational Experiments"):
The first educational venture of Western unprogrammed Friends was Pacific Ackworth School. This alternative school was founded in 1942 because Friends felt that children in the public schools were being pressured to support the war. John and Alice Way , along with several other Orange Grove Meeting families, purchased five acres of property in Temple City, California (not far from Pasadena). The Ways moved a house to the property and settled there in early 1942. [etc.]
Those five acres were the world for us, for a stretch of years.

I'll expand on these reflections a bit, later.


Anonymous Lewis (Jack) Taylor said...

I too googled PA and was happy to find this post. I went to school there around 76-78 and spent several summers there afterwards. Most of my positive childhood memories are of PA. Kick the can, ollie ollie oxen free!
I remember Alice, though did not know John. I think Bruce Nauman (famous moden artist) lived on the property with his family, including daughter Maya, and worked as caretaker. My friends come to mind, Alan, Robert, David, Matt, Carla and others as well as my sister Jenny.
May was my first grade teacher and she did not like me much, I was a talker. A wonderful Japanese? woman lived out just beyond the rear property line and spent time with us helping takle czare of injured animals we found.
A wonderful place.

Tue Jan 09, 05:24:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May was my teacher too, only much earlier! As I was learning to read, I encountered someone's name in a book that I couldn't decipher. So I substituted the word 'May', and it seemed to work out pretty well. ow I can read much better. When I was at PA in the mid 1950s, we had a large field with several farm-ish animals. One day school was suspended as we all marched out there to watch the goat give birth. This impressed me mightily as a first grader. When I was older I studied music in Pasadena with Harlow and Elizabeth Mills who were members of that meeting. There was a teacher who's name was something like Roy Foy. He had invented the 'Foy Toy'. I don't know what it was. I lived in Arcadia and graduated from Arcadia High School, and now I'm here! I'm very grateful for my time at PA. Harlan Hokin

Fri May 11, 08:23:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to PA also from around 1977 until early 1980. I can't thank my parents enough for sending me there. It was a great learning experience and I met friends that I will never forget. May was my teach too and was a great teacher at best. I remember kick the can and all the art classes that I took. What a great chapter that school was in my life time.

Mon Dec 24, 02:00:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, PA was a very special place. I was there in the late 1970s and John Way was my teacher for a while; others included Chloe Winans, who made books of "mandalas" (her granddaughter, Lisa, was a student there too) and a great guy named Malachai(sp?) who taught music. Alice was such a good, good woman. They had a yearly festival - what was it called? - where John would trot out his Model T Ford for Model T rides, and they also did hay rides. Do you remember picking foxtails, and if you picked 1000 or something, you got a prize? I remember a storytelling event where they told a story about "tribbles" or something and brought out a box with lots of little hand-made puff-balls and handed out one "tribble" to each kid. And lots of art projects like sand painting, enamel, woodshop, etc. Does anyone else remember the climbing tree, a big, beautiful pine that was easy to climb way up high? And yes! I remember that woman who lived in a house behind the field in back very well. Her name was Lu Kuboshima and she was a real sweetie. I remember her breaking off a leaf from her aloe plant to treat a minor sunburn.

Tue Jan 15, 02:05:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Ellen Gordon said...

Wow, this is amazing. I attended PA from the mid 60's to early 70's and I too have incredible long lasting memories. I just visited, what is left of PA, at Thanksgiving and encouraged them to set up some sort of website and a way for folks who attended to be in touch, find out what we are up to. I have wonderful memories of Chloe and Lou Kubashima (her wonderful pickles) the "story tree" which is still on the campus. We participated in the yearly festival to raise money, my mother would dress in a Renaissance costume and sell knishes. I could go on and on. I would love to have a reunion in the very near future!!!

Thu Jan 31, 11:12:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That festival was called the Public Pumpkin Works! A reunion would be great, but I don't know how people could be contacted. Even on, there's only a total of 12 people listed who were at PA over 4 decades.

Mon Feb 18, 09:57:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Urania Dominguez said...

Wow, I can´t believe how difficult it is to find people from my beloved school when facebook and the internet has brought so many people together. I can see that everyone has wonderfull things to say regarding PA. I went to PA from 1982 to 85, as well as my sister and I have the best memories. I remember Alice, and May, though May was not a teacher anymore. Our field trips to the mountain and camping in the desert are adventures I still talk about. And the wonderful mural for peace we all painted. The school's campus was also another world for me. A place to imagine that I was an adventurer, a princess, or simply a place to reflect. I wish to find some of my classmates online so I am going to create a network on facebook and see who joins. Thanks for this blog.

Tue Mar 25, 01:08:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Tenaj said...

Hello Everyone
David: We used to car pool together. Sometimes we car pooled with the Myers family. I have often wondered about you and Larry. I am glad to hear from you. We are truly blessed to have had the PA experience. My teachers were John, Alice and Luanne Oberholtzer for drama. We girls spent time dancing, cooking and sewing with Shiyo & Beulah in the green house. I can't remember the orchestra teacher’s name. Do you remember the name of the attorney? I guess we learned social studies with her. We stayed at her ranch in Santa Barbara. My other friends were Karen Amato, Kari Johnson and Barry Meikle. I hope they check this site.

Janet Davis (Tenaj)

Thu May 15, 06:34:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous catherine said...

I attended P.A. from 1953 to 1960. May was my 1st and 2nd grade teacher. 3rd grade was Mario Dejesu (along with Dina and Al Weiss and Foy Van Dolson) and 5th grade (I never had 4th) was Chloe Wynans. 6th was, of course, John Way. I carry tremendous affection for the school and am still in touch with the Zorthians and Trissia Baughman after all these years. The Zorthians own a wonderful winery in the San Joaquin valley called Buttonwood. - Catherine "Kitty" Anderson

Tue Jun 03, 12:54:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous George Trapani said...

I went to Pacific Ackworth from 1973 to 1977. I remember John and Alice Way. I have many fond memories of PA. I loved to play soccer on the schools giant field. I had May as my kindergarten through 2nd grade teacher. I remember that she had a 4 door Volvo (I think it was tan color). I had Judy as my teacher in the third grade. I really enjoyed her class. I remember that she would read stories to us. The one that I remember was Charlotte's Web. I, also remember doing some type of track and field events at the end of the school year. All in all, I really enjoyed PA. It was a great place to learn.

Tue Sep 30, 12:29:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Barry said...

Barry Meikle checking in. John Astrin & I keep in touch and see each other every 3 years or so. I've seen Sloggy as well and went to a wedding with the Manners in the Pasadena home overlooking the arroyo. VERY COOL ! My e-mail is
I want to hear from my old friends, please! Janet Davis and Davis Isreal ! I can't wait to talk to you! 310-783-0841 Call Barry!

Thu Nov 13, 06:42:00 PM PST  
Blogger Barry Meikle said...

I have to add to my story. PA was the best thing that ever happened to our family. We joined when I came out of the hospital with disabilities. Most people at PA accepted me with not too many funnies. The trips we went on I'll never forget, nor the songs we sang. Like this one"Got drunk last nite like I never got drunk before" etc. Great times and people I still see. What a ride it was. Reunion? I'm all for it. I have some names and #'s. Contact me please if we went at the same time.

Thu Nov 13, 07:02:00 PM PST  
Anonymous ReneeWalker said...

Wow- what a trip to see the comments from ex-P.A. "kids". I went there from K-8th grade (graduated 8th in 1968 I think!). Hi to Kitty Anderson- I believe I remember your very red hair! I too have great memories of P.A. especially the "Big Trips" we took, to Mexico, Arizona (Indian reservations), northern CA; hell we went all over the place! I missed the big reunion a few years ago in Laguna Beach, but I'd sure like to attend one if anyone ever puts on together. And if anybody wants to email me my address is Would love to hear from people! Renee (Bellemeur) Walker

Sun Nov 16, 12:16:00 PM PST  
Blogger Roaming Goat said...

I(Conan Riojas) went to PA from 80-82 ? and the school had a profound impact on my life (my brother Gabe Riojas went there also). I was such a lost boy who was not quiet ready for a structured learning environment. PA was so very patient and allowed me to learn at my own pace and taught me to listen to that spontaneous, inner voice that we so easily ignore as adults. Good times, great memories, and wonderful friends - capture the flat on the back field, the tree house/fort, countless light sabers I made in wood shop, four square dancing, riding our bikes around the path, black widow spiders around the the geodesic building, max sitting on the file cabinet for his seat, journaling and drawing, the teacher who had a breakdown in our classroom and ran off crying and then later learned that she went off to Central America or something, amazing homemade lunches, The nurse who tended to my wounds after I crashed my bike in an attempt to jump a dirt pile, discovering the sensation of sugar cubes melting in my mouth, painting the buildings during service projects, field trips to the library, the girls who all had cruses on Michael Jackson, and many more memories.

Thank you grandma Emma for having the wisdom to send me there, and I only hope I can do the same for my children...

Fri Jan 16, 10:59:00 PM PST  
Blogger erichardmanweigand said...

Yup, I'm another one -- I loved that school. Lou, John, Alice... many names I forget too. But not Maya! We used to play together, and the dance stage was a big hit for all of us in the late 70's as we tried out our moves from Saturday Night Fever and Grease. It probably wasn't possible to appreciate what a special environment that was at 8-11 years old. Anyway, just shouting out with appreciation and fellowship!

- Eric Hardman

Thu Mar 05, 05:39:00 AM PST  
Anonymous dirk said...

i went there from '70-72, was in chloe winans class, and john way's group. mamzing memories. the 1 week trip to the bay area with chloe in her vw bus, and then when i hit the upper group with john way in kidney bean (towing a trailer) and the forest service international truk (dont remember the name) and i also remember sputnik, the model A tractor that occasionally got brought out as well as john's model A&T's. i also remember lu kuboshima, who lived behind the school and and the saunders family who lived on the grounds.

Thu Apr 16, 10:02:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Justine Nauman-Greif said...

Re, this first post by Jack Taylor. . .Bruce and I sent our kids to PA but never lived there. You may be thinking of Paul Haywood and Helen who had a daughter Maya.

Mon May 25, 06:29:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Friends
there is a facebook group started for us, love to hear how we all grew up.
I was at PA for only a couple years '68-69 ish but it was great.
y family did the back to the land thing moving way up to Humboldt county.

Aly Krause

Tue Jun 02, 11:33:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Erik N. said...

The first comment mentions Bruce Nauman. It was Paul and Helen Hayward and their daughter Maya who lived on the premises. Paul was a sculptor. There was a funny story about Maya going to class and announcing that there was a body in their living room. After much questioning the teacher figured out it was a sculpture her father was working on. Bruce is my dad and while we didn't live there I did go to PA from 4-6th grades. That was years 75-77 or so.

Thu Jun 11, 06:58:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello PA Alumni. My name is Kelley Richetts (Kellene Richetts-Nguyen). I went to PA from 1962-71 along with my 5 sibblings I remember Ellen Gordon, David Isreal. I Loved that school!! It formed my moral foundation. The last PA reunion I attended was about 16 years ago. The Meyerhoffs were hosting it at Laguna Beach. Saw lots of friends that I knew there, but have not seen them since. Recently did a search for Lena Weidman who attended PA the same time I did. Did not find her but found her Dad's website ( He was and still is an artist that does awseome posters. Have not been able to reach him yet.
I loved the fairs, the trips and Chloe Winans was my favorite teacher. Lou ( cant remember the spelling of the last name) was the Japanese woman who lived behind the school. I remember who teaching us how to make some Japanese dishes. So glad I found this page. There is PA alumni group on FaceBook. Did a search there for David Isreal and emailed him. If anyone knows the whereabouts of the Meyerhoffs or the Sarnoffs..Please let me know.
email me at

Kellene (Kelley) Richetts-Nguyen

Wed Jun 24, 08:09:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I forgot to say, Hi, Janet Davis!!..How are your sibblings Sheila and Barney doing??? Remember your love for dance and was even in a high school performance of West Side Story at John Muir High School, with you ( I played * Anybodys)

Kellene ( Kelley) Richetts-Nguyen

Wed Jun 24, 08:12:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Della said...

1968-1971 P.A. made me who I am.
I was a very shy and self-conscious 13 year old when I came to P.A.
People there helped me to overcome my shyness.They made me feel excepted just as I was.
P.A. was the place where I felt free to be myself and in doing that I learned to make friend's. Thank-you everyone.
I do think of you David and you are in the place I imagined you'd be. Love Della

Sun Aug 23, 06:25:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How wonderful to see these posts. Brings back memories. Not sure why I thought to Google PA today, had not thought about it in awhile. My brother and I attended in the mid 60's and loved it! My mom found my report card and gave it to me a few years back. Very thoughtful notes from the teacher which gave me such a portrait of myself as a kid!

Hi all! Alison Lara :-) (alllyooop a t y a h o o)

Thu Oct 01, 03:14:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Scott Andrews said...

Hi Everyone! I was at PA from 3rd to 7th grades (hard to imagine that that was only 4 years, seems like such a short time to have basically defined me as a person) from 1962/63 to 1966/67. Many of you may remember my mom Margot ANdrews. Margot passed away in late 2005 after a 2 year fight with ovarian cancer. She was witty and strong and artistic right up to the end. She loved her art, and she loved all the PA kids she had the chance to teach. It's great seeing everyone's thoughts and memories. A reunion would be fun (the big one in Laguna was fun, but it was about 15 years ago!!) to do that we need to have a place where we can more easily communicate. Someone set up a PA group at Facebook, so that might be a good way to reconnect more completely (as much as I thank my 3rd to 7th grade schoolmate Larry Israel for allowing us all to highjack his blog!!). I CAN BE REACHED AT I live in Petaluma, CA now. 650 two seven nine 0242.


Sat Feb 27, 05:28:00 PM PST  
Anonymous dmann43 said...

As an "old grad" of PA, I, too, have fond memories. I would like to correspond with others who have had the PA experience. i find, in retrospect, that it strongly influenced my life venture. I have fond memories of John and Alice. I went to PA in the early '50's.

Thu May 27, 06:21:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous David Mann said...

As a follow-up, and because I don't want to be too anonymous, the "dmann43" of the above post is David Mann.

Sun May 30, 02:15:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous SDP said...

As a board member since 2000, and father of a 23 year old and 16 year old who both attened PA (Pacific Friends School as it is now called) it warms my heart to read all your remembrances and feel the effects your time there has had on each of you. Our director Kellie has worked very hard over the last decade to return PA to it's earlier glory. Currently we are a pre-school with classes for ages 3-6, but we are growing again. While it is not the biggest school around, I love the sense of community we all share there. Please visit our site at and drop Kellie a line. It is a magical place.

Sat Aug 14, 07:47:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a photograph of the big pine tree, the climbing tree, that was back by the small school building/woodshop where the printing press was? I would love to see one! I think the tree was removed in the 1980s.

Tue Sep 28, 04:05:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Catherine "Kitty" Anderson Frumkin said...

So delighted to see comments from for PA students. I attended from 1953 to 1960. Mary was my kndergarten teacher, May Matsumoto McCurrah was my 1st and 2nd grade teacher. For 3rd through 5th was Chloe Wynans, Foy Van Dolsen, Al Weiss and Elma Rogers. I had John Way for 6th grade. I loved piano lessons with Harlow Mills and dancing with Shiyo Miller. Alice Way tried her best to teach me arithmatic. Not her fault I was so bad. I loved the big trips to the Indian reservations. I am still in touch with Seyburn Zorthian (an artist and winery owner in Solvang, CA) and Trissia Baughman (a magician, clown and belly dancer in Whittier, CA). I would love to hear of any reunions.

Wed Aug 31, 11:17:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Erin Sanders said...

How amazing to come across these posts! I grew up on the PA grounds. My parents Ed and Marian Sanders were founders of the school with John and Alice and we lived in the white stucco house across from the Ways and also owned the green house. All my sibs attended the school for some period: Beth, Michael, Richard, John, Rob and David. I was there from 66-71 in classes with Lu, May, Shiyo Miller, Bea Katz and Frank Dane (and my mom who sometimes substituted). After fourth grade I went to Longdon elementary and then we moved east when my dad became Director of Pendle Hill in Philadelphia ('74).

I see some familiar names: Gail Manners, Fred Crane, the Sloggys, Kip Sawyer...

So many memories: the "over" court, the cut-the-pie circle, the pepper tree, the geodesic dome, all the wild cats, the green house dance room, the annual Public Pumpkin Works, our dove cages, the little goldfish pond, the bamboo grove, huge cacti and "puncture weeds" that dotted the back fields. Two vivid memories: falling from way up in the large pine and landing hard on one of the exposed roots and spending a whole class period watching a battle between a black widow spider and a wasp it had caught in its web...

Glad to be reminded and to know there's a community who share some memories of this special place.

Wed Nov 30, 02:10:00 PM PST  
Blogger Corina Haywood said...

So nice to see these posts,
Its cool to see all the generations with criss-crossing memories. I lived at what we called the 'white house' on the campus of PA, next to the mint choked pond and the bird cages and Alic's house. I lived there from 78-81 with my Mom Helen Cooper,My dad Paul Haywood and sister Maya Haywood (who was remembered above:)Its funny how memories work, but to add mine: my dad wasnt a sculptor but a house painter, but he did do odd jobs for people he worked for-like stripping and re-painting a larger than life abstract metal sculpture of a woman in the middle of our living room for months... My mom stubbed her toe on it which led to a fight of some kind-the sculpture was a story we told too-but from a different perspective. My other favorite ridiculous memory is the time my mom managed to hire Tara the rollerskating elephant to come to the fall fair-and I also remember the Model-T rides around Temple City with John Way-as if we weren't out of step with the rest of the world regularly-driving 10mph past confused suburbanites really made me realize how special our lives at P.A. were.
-Hi! to eric N. , I was only 4/5 when you and Zoe were at PA. Conan Rojas, we had the same teacher, Carol-I dont know if we were in the same class at the same time-but I definitley share those memories.
-Corina Haywood

Sun Nov 04, 05:16:00 AM PST  
Anonymous norman siever said...

Norm Siever here. I attended PA until 1949 when I was 7. May Matsumoto and Helen Spoelstra were my teachers. Classes in Quonset huts, rides in Model-T Fords, chickens in the back, big family dinners on the lawn with singing and holding hands. I threw eggs at the barn wall for fun, until one egg broke with an unhatched chick. Profound impact on me, as I never kill animals or insects (if possible). One boy had disabilities, but we never teased him. Instead, we all were excited as he progressed in his development. This is the essence of PA. Writing this brings tears of joy as well as tears of sadness: my father died when I was 5. Mom had little money, so PA forgave some of the tuition. She left money in her will to the Society of Friends. I lived with a foster family, the Manns. I believe David Mann was part of that family. Don't know if he is same person who left comments. If so, I am at

Tue Apr 09, 09:53:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is Judi T and I just want to say I am a fan of PA. I knew nothing about PA until around 1975 when I was "dating" a guy who went to PA and also he was a student at PO (Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, it was founded by a family of Quakers also at about the same time. I want to say I love the philosopy it is the only sane philosopy I have ever heard of. I love it! So glad I met the people that I did so I could learn about PA and PO
In case anyone is interested Nathan Sarnoff lives in Cathy's Valley, Calif with his wife. He was a student at PA. So, no need to tell him where you got the info from. Thank you, and we are truly blessed people

Sat Aug 22, 02:07:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Scott McCurrach said...

My name is Scott Mccurrach My parents taught at PA Iam so honored to have been raised in a place were we were taught that violence promotes violence . I was also honored having been raised by May and Jim Mccurrach to say I loved PA wood not give it justice words cannot explain the wonderful gifts given to us all to keep all who would receive them from lives filled with violence. i praise God for the people who helped to raise me right My Email is with the love of peace Scott Mccurrach

Sun Mar 06, 09:40:00 PM PST  

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